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Miami Dolphins Training Camp Notes: Day 4 – Linebackers, big plays, Albert Wilson, more

As the Miami Dolphins training camp welcomed fans back, debuting their brand new facility, the audience was treated to a performance which saw both sides of the ball make plays. Now, here are some of the big highlights to take away from Day 4 of training camp.

Linebackers

The linebacker corps for the Miami Dolphins is proving to be incredible facing off against the offensive line. Now, it remains to be seen if this will remain the case when the pads come on, presumably on Tuesday, but for now it seems like Miami’s pass rush is a lot better than anyone assumes. Brennan Scarlett, Shaquem Griffin, Jerome Baker, Vince Biegel, even Calvin Munson. All of these linebackers made at least one notable appearance during Saturday’s practice.

It should be noted that Jaelen Phillips was held out of practice due to a minor injury. So his name being omitted is not a cause for alarm. But the linebacker spot is going to be loaded, particularly with Scarlett making a serious push. Of all the linebackers who practiced today, Scarlett made more plays than any of them. If that continues, Brian Flores will have some seriously difficult decisions to make.

Christian Wilkins

Speaking of players standing out above the crowd. Former first round pick Christian Wilkins spent most of his afternoon playing against the second team unit. Now, this is not a detriment towards Wilkins. If anything, it just shows what kind of depth is available along the defensive line that Wilkins is relegated to second team duty. To really emphasize the mismatch, there were several occasions throughout the day where Wilkins had to either be double teamed, or he burst through the offensive line the moment the ball was snapped.

There’s no question Wilkins is more than good enough to play with the starters, and he’s certainly a lock to make the team. All this proves is that the defensive line will almost always be fresh, barring an outbreak of injuries.

Albert Wilson

Miami Dolphins training camp is making one thing very apparent. Albert Wilson is still an excellent wide receiver in the NFL, and he’s proving it beyond the shadow of a doubt in training camp right now. He and Tua Tagovailoa are building a remarkable rapport, connecting on huge plays throughout the last several days, including today. This time, it was a 63-yard touchdown on a slant that was threaded between two defenders, one of which was Byron Jones. Not only that, he made a diving catch in the endzone during goal line drills to bail Tagovailoa out of trouble.

If there was any question as to whether or not Wilson was going to make the roster, it’s rapidly disappearing. No other wide receiver on the entire team has made as much of an impact as Wilson so far. It’s not even close. Even Tagovailoa’s Alabama teammate, Jaylen Waddle, has not proven to be so effective at navigating the defense. Wilson is always open and making big catches. If they continue building chemistry at this rate, Wilson may have himself a career year. That will undoubtedly lead to a big contract in the offseason.

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Big plays galore

The big plays did not stop with Wilson. All day long, on both sides of the ball, plays were made that if they were in-game, would turn the tide instantly. Going back to Brennan Scarlett, not only was he harassing Tagovailoa all day long, but he even forced a fumble out of Lynn Bowden Jr.

Zach Sieler dominated Robert Hunt and got a sack against Tagovailoa almost as soon as the ball was snapped. He also got in the way of a lot of runs throughout the afternoon.

Jakeem Grant leaped up and made a turnaround catch in midair in tight coverage, continuing from yesterday’s stellar performance.

Cornerback Terrell Bonds intercepted Reid Sinnett in the endzone, and then Jamal Perry did the same thing during the same drill against Tagovailoa.

Later, Tagovailoa weaved through pressure, kept his eyes downfield, and lobbed it up to Adam Shaheen who caught the jump ball in midair for a big gain.

All this to say, the Miami Dolphins are certainly going to be an exciting team to watch in 2021.

Michael Palardy

One final note before wrapping up these Miami Dolphins training camp notes. The team seems to have made a huge upgrade at punter. With Matt Haack now in Buffalo, Michael Palardy has come in and shown an incredible ability to punt the ball exactly where it needs to be for the perfect trajectory.

Gone are the days of 50/50 chances of either a booming punt or a shanked punt. Palardy is offering something the Miami Dolphins haven’t had for quite some time. Consistency.

Practice MVP: Albert Wilson

Struggled: Noah Igbinoghene

Luis Sung has covered the Miami Dolphins for numerous outlets such as Dolphins Wire for seven years. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung

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Christian Wilkins

Dolphins rookie Christian Wilkins remorseful over emotional outburst

Football is an emotional game. When your team is 0-5 and desperately trying to hang onto any semblance of hope, that emotion can be amplified. That was the case with rookie defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, who found himself ejected from the game almost the moment it started.

Some would argue that the punch Wilkins threw wasn’t enough to warrant an ejection, but the referees felt differently. Wilkins sat out the rest of the game, watching as the Dolphins came close to pulling off their first victory of the season. Unfortunately for the players, they fell apart in the second half – a recurring pattern – and ultimately lost by a score of 21 to 31.

“I was just really extremely selfish.” Wilkins said after the game. “This is the ultimate team sport. It’s not just about me and I don’t think I’ve ever been more disappointed in myself about something, especially something that was in my control. It really, really shouldn’t have happened, there’s no place for it in this game and that is not the standard I hold myself to. Because I love this game I try to respect this game as much as possible and play it as competitively as possible. This game is meant to be competitive, not combative at all. I really let myself down and my teammates down in just a selfish moment so early in the game.”

Anyone who knows Christian Wilkins describes him as a humble, fun-loving guy who is passionate about football. Throwing a punch seems so out of character for him. Even Wilkins himself couldn’t believe he’d done it.

“It just happened so quickly, it was only the second play of the game.” Wilkins said. “I just tried to come into the game with some energy on edge and just fired up. It’s an emotional game. So again like I said it all happened so fast but there’s no place for it in this game and just no place for it for me because I don’t want that reputation on myself. That’s not something I’m proud of, that’s not something I intended on doing coming into this game or anything like that.”

Wilkins, 23, has not been the playmaker everyone expects him to be in his rookie year. Through six games, Wilkins has only 18 tackles and a pass deflection. Those aren’t the numbers of a first round draft pick. However, his role at Clemson was to open the way for other players to make players. That, also, isn’t happening. It’s hard to stay positive when losing seems to be the agenda. The level of talent is so low on the roster, there isn’t much anyone can do.

However, this one isolated incident should not be a cause for concern. Christian Wilkins isn’t the type of guy to regularly pick fights. It’s unlikely he’ll become the next Ndamukong Suh, with a reputation for dirty plays. Wilkins is clearly contrite over his mistake, and intends to not make it again.

“You know, it’s just a learning experience, too, you live and you learn.” He said. “That’s just a message to myself. A learning experience for my teammates and also a learning experience for people watching at home, kids watching at home. There’s no place for it, you have to play the game the right way.”

It’s clear that the tank is taking its toll on the players. Their desire to win does not coincide with the front office’s roster moves. No doubt, they will keep trying to compete and avoid the dreaded 0-16 season. If they can hang on until 2020, their suffering, hopefully, will be rewarded.

Luis Sung has covered the Miami Dolphins for numerous outlets such as Dolphins Wire for six years. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung

Christian Wilkins loves Miami’s defense headed into week one

Headed into the 2019 NFL draft there were plenty of different directions the Dolphins could go with the 13th-overall pick. When on the clock, the Dolphins decided to focus on the trenches by taking Clemson’s Christian Wilkins to be the anchor of the defensive line.
With a solid preseason in the books, Wilkins met with the media before his NFL debut on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens:
How excited are you for your first game?
“I’m excited as I have been for every other game in my life, pretty much; but this one is obviously a little different, it being my first game – my first official NFL game,” Wilkins said. “I’m just excited. I’ve just got to prepare every way I do for every game. I can’t get too overexcited or play too emotional or anything like that. I’ve got to play within myself, but I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
You said you could bring that championship mentality to Miami, how is that going?
“I just feel like I’ve got to bring the right mindset every day – just the mindset to get better and make those around me better as well because it’s not just me out there,” Wilkins said. “It’s a team effort. Hopefully just some of my good energy, my positivity will rub off. Like I said, just make all of those around me better. That’s the biggest thing. I just always try to have a good mindset
each and every day and get one percent better each and every day.”
What will we see from Miami’s defense out there?
“I love our defense. I think we’ve got a lot of good guys – guys who work really hard,” Wilkins said. “Just the group – there are good players at every position at every level, too. So just building that chemistry is huge for us and we are getting comfortable playing with one another and just creating a certain level of accountability for one another. That’s really important because that’s what allows the defense to be great.”
How do you feel about your progress since the start of camp?
“I feel pretty good, but I’m never satisfied,” Wilkins said. “That’s just the mindset I try to bring every day. I just feel like I can always get better at something, but I definitely see the improvement which is good, which is encouraging. I’m definitely not where I want to be, not even close to being able to scratch the surface on my potential as a player. There’s just a lot of parts of my game I really want to clean up and get better at. I’m definitely happy with my progress, but still not satisfied.”
Wilkins started three of the four preseason games for the Dolphins and finished the summer with seven tackles, five of which were solo. The Springfield Massachusetts native also registered a sack and looks to be an anchor for Miami’s defense for years to come. The Dolphins welcome the Ravens to Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m.

Christian Wilkins: ¿la escogencia correcta de los Dolphins?

Christian Wilkins fue el escogido por los Miami Dolphins con su primera escogencia la noche de este jueves en el Draft de la NFL.

Para muchos analistas los Dolphins iban a buscar a un mariscal de campo, pero Miami decidió volver a la ruta de los tackle defensivos.

Wilkins es un personaje, y ya ha dado sus primeras muestras de quien puede ser.

Anoche casi tumba al comisionado Godell de la emoció que tenía por firmar como profesional.

Además, demostró sus dotes de bailarín:

¿Porqué escogieron a Christian Wilkins y no a un quarterback?

Los fanáticos de los Dolphins no estaban contentos con la escogencia.

Preferían a un mariscal, pero ¿qué le trae Wilkins a Miami y a los Dolphins?

Ethan Skolnik y Chris Wittyngham lo analizaron en una edición especial de Five Reasons Flagship:

Además, Ricardo Montes de Oca, Leandro Soto y Alejandro Villegas tuvieron la oportunidad de conversar con Eduardo Martell, comentarista en español de los Dolphins de Miami:

Miami Dolphins take Christian Wilkins in first round

The Dolphins had a shot at a quarterback.

But they’ve taken only three in the first round in 42 years, and that didn’t change Thursday.

Miami passed on Dwayne Haskins at No. 13, and didn’t trade down as many expected, instead taking two-time collegiate champion defensive tackle Christian Wilkins.

Wilkins introduced himself to the NFL by screaming as he emerged from the green room, and then shoulder-bumping NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the most affection that any NFL player has ever shown Goodell.

“Man, I’m just so excited, man,” Wilkins told pseudo-interviewer Deion Sanders. “This is awesome.”

Clemson University thought so, too.

He tends to be excited a lot…..

NFL Network analysts were excited too. A couple of them said they had Wilkins much higher, touting his athleticism and leadership.

“I really love this pick, because he relies on his quickness,” former Panthers receiver Steve Smith said on NFL Network. “He has active hands.”

Dolphins GM Chris Grier addressed the media, and said that they considered the quarterbacks available, but that “Christian was higher on the board for us, the highest player on our board.” He spoke highly of Wilkins’ intelligence, noted that Wilkins had an “elite skill set for his position,” and referenced Wilkins’ charisma.

“He told us it was the best decision we ever made when we picked him,” Grier said.

Dolphins players welcomed him on Twitter.

 

 

Wilkins addressed the media by videoconference.

 

He was, um, excited.

 

The national media liked it too…